This past April I had the distinct pleasure of attending and acting as a panelist at Clexacon in Las Vegas. While there were lots of great things that happened, one of the highlights of my experience was making the acquaintance of Imani Grant, owner of Infinite AG, an early stage tech company and online B2B marketplace for surplus, imperfect and just ripe produce. I learned that Imani along with one of her best friends from Cornell grad school, Chief of Staff of the Great Lakes Regional Commercial Enterprise Sales Team at Microsoft, Mary E Fuller, had started a travel company for multicultural queer professional womxn, calling it The Weekend Soirée.
The Weekend Soirée is an Atlanta-based travel company hosting an annual 4 day getaway for multicultural queer professional womxn to gather for a 360 degree upscale weekend experience. Launched in early 2018, TWS will host their inaugural event September 13 -16, 2018 in what they are calling the “Rocky Mountain Rollout” in my hometown Denver. Since I am a multicultural queer professional woman from Denver that loves upscale events, I thought it de rigueur to tell everyone I know about this fantastic new event debuting in my hometown.
I wanted to know more about these womxn, what made them decide to do this, who is this event for and what made them choose Denver? So we sat down for a kiki and I learned about the Chief Weekenders. I would describe Imani as the bright and sparkling, seeker of new adventures with Mary as the cool and calm willing adventure participant. They have experienced many travel adventures together and now with the creation of The Weekend Soirée we’re invited along for this upscale weekend of fun.
The Lesbian Socialite: Ok, let’s be honest, your event, by current lesbian event standards could be considered expensive. What made you decide to create an upscale event?
Mary Fuller: This is an all-inclusive event, like any other all-inclusive weekend. By my calculations, this will actually come out a better deal than paying for each event, especially if you’re drinking.
Imani Grant: I agree. That’s a good point. I feel like once you start getting with your friends, especially if most of you are pretty successful, then you just kind of go with it. [For example] When I would get together with some of my colleagues from my last company…there was maybe four lesbians out of 4400 people…We would get together, everyone is doing well and then ‘we get a bottle and you get a bottle and you get a bottle’ it just kind of goes. You end up spending more.
MF: Yeah and when Imani invites you on these crazy trips and you end up spending a brick anyway [laughter]
TLS: It’s like let’s go it’ll be awesome! Well when you travel, what makes you choose your location? Mary, I get that Imani is usually making the charge and you’re a willing participant, but why choose these places?
MF: Sometimes I choose, but really number one we’re both travelers. So often when we are catching up on the phone, we’re talking about where we’ve been or where we want to go. We generally have an idea about what cities are appealing to each other, and we tend to have a lot of overlapping interests anyway. When we go on trips together and looking at the agenda for the day we end up being interested in a lot of the same things…we also like to go places on our bucket list.
TLS: So why Denver? I know that you have each been there.
MF: When we first started talking about this, last year, it was a bucket list city for me. Denver was one I had always wanted to go to. Several people in my life have had really spiritual experiences in Denver and I have other family connections to Denver. Then we started thinking about it everything lined up. It’s central enough that you could get direct flights from the east coast and west coast…Imani loved it number one…it would allow us to incorporate fitness, yoga and outdoorsy elements into the weekend. Plus, it’s like great weather. We couldn’t think of a better place for that time of year. When we thought about it…Denver was the ideal city.
IG: We also didn’t want a city with too much distraction…we really wanted an event where people would take the initiative to connect with people that were there [attending].
MF: Once we decided it was really happening, things began to come together really serendipitously.
IG: We actually met DJ Tatiana, one of our DJ’s on a scouting trip when we happened to go to The Living Room [for Hip Chicks Out Second Friday’s]…I think the Universe was just opening the pathways for each step.
TLS: I kind of feel like that’s how we met. Last day of the conference, last hour of the day, in the hall. As soon as I heard about it I was sold. Still, everyone will have a different idea of what this experience is intended to be. What is it you want them to know?
MF: Hmm, I really do feel with the amount of stuff and the amount of thought that we have put into the agenda, the activities, I think that people are going to be [happy with the options]. I think that they’ll realize that they didn’t even have enough time to do everything and they’ll want to go back.
IG: I piggyback on that. I think this really is a pure good time and we’ve been thoughtful in how we’ve integrated dimensions for each of us. Mary and I are similar in many ways but different in a lot [of ways], so I think it’s helped us curate in a way where diverse interests will be met. I think the fact that it caters to singles and couples…I think it’s rare when you get that pure good time, like a family BBQ…no pretense. You can be a whole grown up in this space with other LGBTQ women and it just be cool…to be able to do things with a group of interesting and dynamic queer womxn is like manna from heaven.
I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m thrilled to be Hometown Host for this year’s The Weekend Soirée. I’ll be assisting making attendees feel welcome, answering any questions that we didn’t get answered in the Welcome to Denver pack and teaching a class Friday afternoon called Your Joyful Journey.
Tickets are still available! See you in Denver!
The Weekend Soiree, September 13 – 16, 2018 www.theweekendsoiree.com